Somin Shorai (a Japanese old story about a folk religion) (蘇民将来)

Somin shorai refers to a folk tale that has been told as a legend in Japan in mainly the Kinki region, referring to folk beliefs that originated in the folk tale.

Looking at the past, Somin Shorai was founded in Susano-jinja Shrine (Fukuyama city) in itsubun (a composition previously existed but doesn't exist now) of "Bingo-koku Fudoki" (regional gazetteers of Bingo Province) quoted in "Shaku Nihongi;" an annotated text of the Nihon Shoki, (Kanekata URABE, during the middle of the Kamakura period). It has also been widely spread as Saishi kigen tan (story of ritual origin) almost in a similar way. According to the tale, Muto shin (deity with clear roots in the Korean peninsula) had asked his wealthy younger brother, Shorai, for the place to sleep during his journey and had been refused; Muto shin asked his poor brother, Somin shorai as well, and Somin Shorai treated him even in a poor way. Muto shin who revisited his younger brother, Shorai, put a ring of Chigaya (Japanese blood grass) as a mark on Somin's daughter who became the wife of his younger brother, Shorai, and destroyed Shorai's family members except for her. Muto shin called himself Susano no Mikoto (Susano), and taught that putting a ring of Chigaya (Japanese blood grass) enables us to avoid diseases.

Based on this episode, rituals such as Chinowa kuguri; going through a ring of Chigaya, distribution of talisman of Somin shorai, and shimekazari (sacred Shinto rope with festoons), are actively performed as a prayer for protection from evil in Somin-sai Festival that takes place in various places including within Iwate prefecture in the Yasaka-jinja Shrine in Kyoto and in Ise and Shima regions as an annual event.

[Original Japanese]